Koh Samui Island
It is thought that the name Samui is derived from the Chinese word Saboey, which means ‘safe haven’. The island was first used by sailors looking to shelter from storms in the Gulf of Thailand. Very little else is known as the first map of the island only dates from the seventeenth century, and there is no real written record of the islands history. The small population only ever passed down their history by word of mouth.
It is commonly understood that the first communities on Koh samui relied on the sea for their survival and it was only later that full advantage was taken of the fertile land. Samui is still renowned for its lush fruits. Later the island was developed as a coconut and rubber plantation and was a successful exporter of these products. This economic success prompted more people to move to Samui and set up communities. Including a minority Muslim community that still exists in the Muslim village towards the south of the island.
It was in the 1970’s and 80’s that the first foreign travellers discovered Koh Samui. It was the more adventurous travellers form Europe etc that discovered the amazing natural beauty of the island and a small industry grew up around the provision of basic facilities for these – mainly more hippy type travellers. Small bungalows and people supplying Thai food.
The last 10 -15 years has seen the acceleration of Koh Samui development as more people have become aware of all Samui has to offer. It is now being positioned as a high-end resort and many five star resorts and the like are springing up all over the island. This also fits in with the high spec developments that are the name of the game for most development on the island.